Minimalissimo


The Japanese architect Shigeru Ban created an innovative, minimalist and elegant floor lamp for FontanaArte, named Yumi. In Japanese, Yumi means “bow” and that is exactly what this floor lamp looks like. Delicate, the stem is only 10mm thick, and strong. A clean design and simple shape that blends into a lightweight structure. The slim shape was made possible by the use of LED lights, integrated in the black composite and carbon fibre coated structure. The base is made of black lacquered metal. All wiring is hidden within. I love that. I think a lamp with such a minimalist appearance fits in any environment. Would it fit in your interior? It is said Shigeru Ban is not interested in the newest materials and techniques in designsbut he is definitely innovative and need the newest tools to make his ideas come alive. The fact Ban was the first architect in Japan to construct a building out of paper illustrates his innovative thinking.


One of world’s most prolific studios, Nendo, recently unveiled another beautiful minimalist design. Snap Glasses are made from light, flexible polycarbonate resin and envisioned for those of us who need reading and computer spectacles. When folded, they snap onto the nose supports (hence the name), which allows them to stay in place and create a thin profile. Another fun element is the interchangeable arms, that detach at the temples, so you can enjoy different colour combinations. The available colours are black, red, beige, grey, matte brown, matte green, matte blue and matte dark grey. Snap Glasses are  exclusively available from Seibu department stores.


Villa E is a luxury Moroccan home designed by Studio KO. Studio KO is formed of architects Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty, and the firm is based in both Paris and Morocco. Their architectural style expertly blends eastern and western design. Villa E is a lodge located at the base of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Viewed from below, the home appears to be a castle or fortress looming above the rugged countryside. But step closer and you’ll find a warm and comforting home with a distinct style. The facade is of Villa E is covered in Ouriko stone, a red, brick-like stone which is locally sourced and characteristic to the architecture of the region. The windows are carefully placed to create the most airflow and eliminate direct sunlight. In a hot climate such as Morocco’s architects must tailor their designs around the powerful desert sun. The interior features high quality materials such as marble and slate, as well as traditional Moroccan furnishings and artwork. And of course, every room with an oversize window is arranged to maximize the stunning view of the mountains. Villa E is perfectly suited to its harsh environment. I love how the design can be traditional and contemporary, luxurious and minimal. Every element pairs together effortlessly for...


The Stickbulb collection from RUX brings the ability to customize lamps to the masses. And customize in a seriously slick way. Co-founded in 2012 by Russell Greenberg and Christopher Beardsley, RUX is a fusion of minimal lines, inter-connective elements and where the design of the object is in the hands of the end user. I think this is ingenious. The resulting aesthetic is also nothing short of beautiful. The collection is a combination of pendants, wall scones, table lamps and floor lamps. The primary design philosophy of the range is that it is a pure and minimal expression. I couldn’t agree more. The construction of each lighting option is a sleek wooden beam, available in varying lengths. Interchangeable connector pieces allows for multiple sticks to be placed together, to create a feature, or to attach to walls, and to illuminate any space. The wood used is reclaimed and sustainably sourced and is coupled with efficient LED technology. The collection was designed with the least number of parts possible with connections that make the pieces easy to separate for maintenance, recycling, or reuse. These are seriously note-worthy. Available from Rux. Photography courtesy of Rux.


Bottle Watch is a wonderfully minimalist, analogue wristwatch with raised nodules around its glass perimeter, similar to those found on the bottom of a glass beverage bottle. The watch was designed by London based studio Industrial Facility for Italian accessories company, Nava. The designers explain: We noticed that there are often exactly sixty of these nodules found on a typical beer bottle where the function is to avoid suction between the bottle and a table surface. This observation makes a useful correlation to the units of timekeeping and replicating these nodules creates a strikingly iridescent appearance when light hits its face at different angles. Bottle Watch is available in brown ale, green wine, clear spirit and blue water — colours that follow typical glass bottles. Although these colours don’t overly appeal to me, I do think this is a super concept.


British Fashion Designer Charlie May, advocate of minimalism since launching her first collection in 2010, keeps on refining her style with her immaculate A/W 14 collection. A bold but carefully designed black and white contrast plays well alongside monochrome looks, which come alive through the use of distinctly chosen fabric textures. The silhouettes range from feminine to Garconne, while the styling allows a thought of 50′s college girl attitude. Sharp outlines, classic pieces and a relaxed but very confident composure are the core ingredients to this immaculate collection. I really embrace Charlie May’s effortless style of comfortable yet intricate pieces, which should easily last many seasons. On the one hand there is a very personal handwriting in the way she designs her collection, on the other, every piece of the line should integrate well with any individual look of her customers. That is the craftsmanship of design in full bloom.


Lucas Dias is a young Brazilian photographer and video-artist based in Barcelona who has recently opened the second show of his touring exhibition Cuerpos Urbanos (Urban Bodies). The series of double-exposures explores the limit between people and their surroundings — the skin of the body and the skin of the city — ultimately communicating the complexity of those relationships in an elegant, effortless manner. It is in the limit between body and landscape that the proposal for Urban Bodies is drawn. In an attempt of reenchantment with the world, diaphanous mirages are drawn, ethereal and subtle, provoking the observer’s eye. They reveal skins of transparent folds, and within the folds, invisible landscapes. With a background in Architecture studies, Lucas maintains the concept of ephemeral and diaphanous even in the exhibition design — the images were printed in large plates of transparent acetate, floating suspended in the air. Discussing the process behind his work, he reveals that Cuerpos Urbanos was the result of long and painful exploration, after many experiments and thoughts, confirming that a simple result is often the culmination of many iterations and hard work. Cuerpos Urbanos will be open at the aDa Gallery in Barcelona until the end of June...


St. Petersburg based designer Lesha Galkin created this clever minimalist desk organizer, called Shkatulka (Russian for ‘keepsake box’). The piece unfolds to reveal the series of modular components, allowing you to hold your pencils, papers, paper clips, notepads and other desk essentials. Here is how Galkin reflects on this project: Caskets with a ‘secret’, special opening mechanism, were very popular in Russia from ancient times and were used for keeping valuables and important items. Storage kit Shkatulka has a secret too, as well as valuable contents. It is a set of various modules. You can change their combination depending on the functional needs. I like the versatility of this design. You can expand it, if the space allows, or keep it compact. I also love the combination of wood and marble. It was is a collaborative effort. The woodwork was made by Pavel Brick and Matthias Marte of Verstak, and Aleksandr Baharev of Formadimarmo carved the marble.


International Royal Architecture, or I.R.A., have designed this bright and modern dwelling in a residential neighborhood in Japan. The home is called House of KKZ, a name derived from its proximity to the Kamikitazawa Railway Station in Tokyo. The structure is a straightforward white cube with cut outs for the windows and doors. KKZ is by no means large, only 110 square meters, but the thoughtful design results in a lovely living space for a family. House of KKZ is a spilt level with several loft spaces. The varying levels allow the space to feel large and open despite the building’s small urban footprint. Small, narrow windows are placed close to the ceiling on each level. These windows bring natural light inside while maintaing the residents’ privacy. White walls and light-colored wood contribute to the sunny feel of the interior. Built in furniture and storage keeps the home free of clutter.


Mathias Hahn as part of London’s Clerkenwell Design Week has introduced the Runcible Collection. Made from solid hard maple, the collection represents a familiar archetype, that is not limited to one specific task and are blanks that stand for a type of application but allow for individual use. Each piece is an implement for use in the home, but the exact functionality is diffused by experimenting with the expected aesthetic and form of such products, leaving them highly interpretive by the user. Hahn is an industrial designer, originally from Germany, and currently working in London where he started up his studio OKAYStudio in 2006. He studied both Industrial Design and Product Design, which has brought him to a body of work involving furniture, lighting and products. He has a natural desire for designing towards use and functionality and introduces me experimental curiosity to his way of working. Through his collaborations, commissioned and individual work, Hahn has remained dedicated to the minimalist principles and themes. The resulting Runcible Collection is testament to his dedication. There is a sophisticated simplicity to the way that he approaches materiality and the production process of remaining true to the materials core beauty. Photography courtesy of...


I was recently introduced to the New Zealand fashion brand, I Love Ugly — specifically their simple, stylish and sublime Samuel Watches Series. The Samuel Watch Series features a simplified design for a timeless touch. The minimal design provides an everyday wear and features a silicon strap for something different, laser engraved logo, hardened glass face and a quality finish. Available in black, grey and mint colours, this affordable series brilliantly captures the essence of a wrist watch with its clean, readable dial, thin time indicators and simplified brand mark. The minimalistic packaging must also be recognised as an example of beautiful design in itself.


The launch of Australian label, Eska Alikai‘s AW 2014 collection by Micha Dyball consists of elegant, minimalist pieces that are indicative of both a confident presence as well as a pragmatic need for comfort. Her minimalist sensibilities are designed into soft leather, eco-friendly tencel, fleece, denim and cotton voile. The details of layering add a lot of personality into the clean, geometric pieces. I found this collection so appealing as each outfit is styled to celebrate the structure and fluidity in the mixed use of material and yet, it is easy to wear. Eska Alikai may be relatively new to deliver a full collection but the label has achieved much success in editorial exposure and already has an e-commerce site. I am looking forward to the next collection already. Images courtesy of Eska Alikai.